RENO, Nev. — Shakur Stevenson proved too quick and skilled for Joet Gonzalez, claiming the vacant WBO featherweight title in a unanimous decision Saturday night.
Stevenson’s fast strikes and elusiveness were on display throughout, but especially in the first six rounds.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Stevenson said.
Gonzalez (12-1, seven KOs) finally edged Stevenson (24-0, 14 KOs) in the seventh with his ability to get inside, landing body blows with Stevenson backed in the corner. But those moments were rare for Gonzalez, 26, of Glendora, California, as Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, cruised to victory.
Judges turned in identical scorecards of 119-109.
“I want Josh Warrington,” Stevenson said after the fight. “You said you wasn’t going to fight me until I got a title. I got a title now. Let’s work.”
The 126-pound title fight provided plenty of storylines leading up to the bout.
Stevenson, 22, of Newark, New Jersey, is dating Gonzalez’s sister, Jajaira. Pre-fight hype focused largely on their relationship and how it drove a rift between Gonzalez and his sister.
“Joet is nothing,” Stevenson said, adding an expletive moments after defeating Gonzalez. “I got no respect for Joet. If the wants to be cool, I’ll be cool with him.”
Saturday’s bout was also the first for Stevenson since his father, Alfredo Rivera, died of a heart attack Sept. 29.
In the ring, Stevenson proved his dominance in front of 2,828, capping his fast ascension since going pro after the 2016 Olympics.
Oscar Valdez, who had claimed the featherweight title since 2016, recently moved up in weight, leaving the spot open.
Saturday’s bout was the first since June for both fighters.